Books > Old Books >The Elson Readers Book Six (1910)


Page 378

GREAT AMERICAN AUTHORS
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES

But, as I have already told you, it was quite a common thing with young persons, when tired of too much peace and rest, to go in search of the garden of the Hesperides. And once the adventure was undertaken by a hero who had enjoyed very little peace or rest since he came into the world. At the time of which I am going to speak he was wandering through the pleasant land of Italy, with a mighty club in his hand and a bow and quiver slung acrcss his shoulders. He was wrapped in the skin of the biggest and fiercest lion that ever had been seen, and which he himself had killed; and though on the whole, he was kind and generous and noble, there was a good deal of the lion's fierceness in his heart. As he went on his way, he continually inquired whether that were the right road to the famous garden. But none of the country people knew anything about the matter, and many looked as if they would have laughed at the question if the stranger had not carried so very big a club.

II. HERCULES MEETS THE FLOWER MAIDENS
So he journeyed on and on, still making the same in quiry, until at last he came to the brink of a river where some beautiful young women sat twining wreaths of flowers.
" Can you tell me, pretty maidens," asked the stranger, "whether this is the right way to the garden of the Hesperides?"
The young women had been having a fine time together, weaving the flowers into wreaths and crowning one another's heads. And there seemed to be a kind of magic in the touch of their fingers that made the flowers more fresh and dewy and of brighter hues and sweeter fragrance while they played with them than even when they had been growing on their native stems. But on hearing the stranger's

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